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How to get pre-approved for a mortgage online

Updated March 23, 2017

Getting preapproved for a mortgage loan gives you two advantages when you're shopping for a home: You'll know how expensive of a home you can afford, which means that you won't waste time looking at homes that are out of your budget. It also makes you a more attractive buyer to sellers; they know that you have the financing necessary to purchase their residence, so they are more likely to accept your offer. Today, buyers can get a mortgage pre-approval online.

Search the Internet for mortgage lenders with an online presence. Most of these lenders will give you the option to apply for a mortgage pre-approval through their web sites.

Fill out the online pre-approval form. You'll first have to provide basic information: In what state are you buying a home? Will you be the only borrower? You'll also have to enter your name, Social Security number, date of birth and other personal information.

Provide your financial information. Online pre-approval forms require that you fill in your gross annual income, current expenses and debts.

Fill in the name and address of your employer and how long you've worked at your current job. If you've worked at your current job for less than two years, most lenders will require that you provide the name and address of your previous employer, too.

Give permission to the lender to run your credit report. Lenders rely on credit scores when determining how much money they can lend you.

Send copies of your two most recent income tax returns, bank savings and current account statements, two most recent paychecks and retirement savings account statements to the lender. Your lender will use this to verify the financial information you provided them.

Tip

Getting a pre-approval does not obligate you to work with a particular lender. Remember, too, that a pre-approval is different than a pre-qualification. A pre-qualification is less impressive to sellers because lenders pass these out without verifying any of your financial information. A pre-approval letter is only given out after lenders receive actual evidence of your annual income and your current debts.

Warning

Be as accurate as possible when reporting your income and debt levels. Your lender is going to check this information. Misrepresenting it on the online pre-approval form will only slow down the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Copies of your two most recent income tax returns
  • Copies of your most recent bank savings and current account statements
  • Copies of your two most recent paycheck stubs
  • Copies of your retirement savings account statements
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About the Author

Don Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.